Facebook’s Breast Phobia Is Absolutely Ridiculous

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Facebook’s Breast Phobia Is Absolutely Ridiculous
[ Social Media]

Full disclosure: I’m much, much more socially liberal than the average bear. I won’t get into specifics about certain policy positions – but let’s just say that I fail to see how a little lightening up could do anything but help a society.

Having said that, I believe that you can be pretty socially conservative and still see that Facebook really needs to lighten up when it comes to nudity.

And no, I’m not suggesting that we turn the news feed into a porn tube or we turn the Timeline into an exhibition show. Let’s be real – this isn’t Myspace.

What do you think should be the line when it comes to nudity on Facebook? What do you think of their current policies? Have you ever had a post removed and you felt it was unjust based on their policies? Let us know in the comments.

All I’m suggesting is that we stop acting like the catalyst for the fall of our moral civilization is a 15-year-old catching a glimpse of a painted breast. I’ll now step down off the soapbox and get to the real story.

Parenting blog strollerderby (a Babble property) reports that Babble’s social media manager Andrea Zimmerman recently had a photo removed from her Facebook page. She received that standard rigamarole about Facebook’s nudity and pornography policy and the obligatory “do this too much and we’ll kick you off” warning. Many of us have seen this first hand in our many years of Facebooking.

The photo in question is of a fully nude woman with both breasts exposed. Both nipples are visible and the subject of the photo is touching herself. Check out the incredibly obscene photo below:

Are you as horrified as I am?

The photo, part of a pregnancy body art series, is about as un-obscene as it can get. In fact, it’s rather beautiful. But the problem lies with Facebook. It doesn’t matter that this depiction of nudity is what it is – and not some still image from Bangbus.

Facebook’s current policy says that the user “will not post content that: is hateful, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.” It goes on to say that a photo can and will be removed if it “contain[s] nudity, drug use or other obscene content. If the photo attacks another individual or group, it will be removed as well.”

Nudity, drug use, or other obscene content. When did nudity just automatically become obscene content?

Let’s take another photo example – this time one more personal to me. I shared an article of mine to my personal Facebook page as well as WebProNews’ Facebook page. The article in question was about Porn sites participating in the internet-wide SOPA protests. This was its lead image:

As you can see, the young lass in the photo is rather buxom, and her assets aren’t exactly hidden away. But as you can clearly see, no nudity in the classical sense. No more skin is shown in that photo than in a bikini shot the average college girl posts after Spring Break. Nevertheless, Facebook removed the entire article from both my personal account and the WebProNews account. They also temporarily suspended my account and gave me the whole community guidelines lecture. All for the above photo, let me remind you.

Facebook and breasts have already been in the news this week. Breastfeeding activists who say that Facebook has removed countless breastfeeding images of theirs scheduled “nurse-in” protests at Facebook offices around the world.

Facebook’s policy on that is that breastfeeding photos are allowed as long as they don’t show “an exposed breast where the child in not actively engaged in nursing.” The activists claim that Facebook is unable to keep up with their removals and are unjustly taking down images that do not violate the policy.

It’s totally understandable that many photos get removed in error. Just imagine the volume of photos that hit Facebook every day. Mistakes should no doubt be expected.

But could a laxation of policy alleviate a bit of the problem? If Facebook lightened up, just a bit, could it prevent images like my (clearly not nude) lingerie girl from being removed unjustly?

I’m fully aware that it is Facebook’s right as a company to set up their policies in any way they choose. And trust me guys, I don’t want to turn Facebook into YouPorn. I just want Facebook to stop acting like nude pregnant body art is obscene.

What do you think? First, what do you think the line is when it comes to images on Facebook? Secondly, how big of a problem is the fact that photos are being removed in error, having not violated Facebook’s stated policies?

Should Facebook create more specific guidelines differentiating nudity from pornography? Let us know in the comments.

Facebook’s Breast Phobia Is Absolutely Ridiculous
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  • http://www.funkybumpmaternity.com Sinead

    I am shocked by this. I blog regularly on my site and, with it being a maternity site, many of my articles are about breastfeeding with naked/semi-naked pictures featured as part of the article. So far nothing has been removed from facebook but I had no idea that they would class the images as offensive in any way, given that it’s all part of human nature.
    It does seem to be political correctness going, once again, to the absolute limit.

  • Really

    If I painted my body similarly and took a walk on Madisson avenue or walk my kindergarten to her classroom, would that be viewed as nudity? Unless we are saying painting our bodies is now replacement for clothes. Let’s not have arguments just for the sake of arguing and to get comments on a blog. I am 100% sure parents would be outraged?

  • http://www.skyghosts.com KEVIN

    I believe that Nudity itself should NEVER be illegal or banned in ANY form for it teaches all to be ashamed of themselves and their bodies in it’s natural state. Also it damages a healthy sexual attitude and severe cases causes dysfunction sexually. Pornography should be defined as “The nude graphic depiction of a sex act.” NEVER JUST NUDITY ITSELF…..

    • Justin

      Completely awesome point. People seem to either forget about this aspect or want to ignore it all together because of their prude upbringing.

  • Anonymous

    The picture is totally gross. It belittles pregnant women. Only husbands should see this. It is private!

    Breast feeding is very natural and good for babies, but it should only be done in private! I do not want to see a woman breast feeding while walking down the street.

  • http://handy-crafts.biz BERNADETTE STENGEL

    I vote to keep it zipped, hiked up, uptight and outta sight! I don’t need to see what everyone has. Keep it friendly and even spiritual and intellectual. But we don’t need to be assaulted by any form of nudity. Yes, I voted to keep more freedom on the ‘Net, but that opinion is to help small business. Otherwise, please keep your nudity to yourselves. Thanks. Outta Jacksonville, Florida

  • Dell D.

    Personally I could care less whether or not Facebook allows nudity. And I find both photos quite likable. However I am really sick of whiny liberal babies complaining that they can’t do anything they want anywhere they want, while shouting down anyone who doesn’t agree with them. Facebook has the right to set any rules they wish for membership. If you don’t like the fact that Facebook doesn’t allow nudity start your own site or go somewhere else.

  • Ande Anderson

    I am glad to see the Facebook enforcement of their restrictions. There are not enough people pushing for ‘Morality’ and ‘Decency’ when it comes to the Internet.

    • Justin

      We don’t need any more of people’s “MORALITY” pushed on us, especially on the internet. There’s enough in this overly social conservative country as it is with all of ‘certain religions’ leading the charge.

  • Nick

    For Facebook to be as profitable and successful as it is, it is required to be adhere not only to the West’s ideals of acceptability but to the world in general. By this token, I am not surprised that they take such a conservative outlook. It opens more doors in the long run.

  • Dan

    Isn’t our society already turning into a strip club? Even pathetic excuses for parents ALLOW their KIDS to have stripper poles in their basements and dress up their 3 and 4 year old little girls to look like hookers & they call it a “beauty pageant!” We’re sliding down a slope of sleaze and our children are paying the price! If I log onto facebook and start seeing nudity,”Art” or not, I’m history! Can’t you find naked women in enough places now-a-days? Go ahead, watch your Internet porn if you like but leave Facebook the hell alone!

  • http://www.rogersservicegroup.org Herbert M. Rogers Sr

    Like all good government controlled media outlets. Facebook bows to pressure from the government.
    I see them losing this battle because some where a New Facebook type will come along and use a Age restriction waring and let you post the types of pictures or video you are discussing.

  • http://ripsychotherapy.com Mike A.

    Just another reason why Facebook is leaning on the edge of obscurity but just doesn’t know it yet.

  • Marie

    Hi Josh,

    I was a breastfeeding mother many moons ago. One day, I was on a family vacation, and took my little 8-month-old son into the living room, covered him with a blanket (except for his head) and nursed him so that no one in the adjoining kitchen/dining room area could see any hint of breast.

    My sister-in-law, who had bottle fed her kids, looked at me in disgust. “How long are you going to keep up with that?” she asked. As if I were making a porn movie in front of her. I also got a lot of people telling me that they would have breast fed, but this or that, as if my breast feeding were a guilt trip on them. It wasn’t — I was bottle fed and I turned out okay. Just that it was my choice.

    I replied that I would continue to breast feed until he stopped wanting it (which turned out to be 18 months of age). My Dad piped in and said, “I remember my mom breast feeding me.” She shut up.

    It’s really difficult, as a woman, to have my body parts being viewed as disgusting. After all, men go around topless and no one tries to put them in jail or sneers at them. There was an interesting court case in Maine years ago, where a young woman drove around on her riding lawnmower, mowing her lawn, topless. There were trees between her house and the neighbors, but they still complained and she was taken to court for public display of nudity. Due to the laws in Maine, she won the case. So it’s legal to do topless lawn mowing here.

    Due to cultural norms, I would probably not venture to mow my lawn topless. But it’s really sad that our bodies are subjected to such scorn, just because we had the misfortune to be born a woman. The breasts give life to babies, and yes, they are part of sexy time. But it’s so ridiculous to ban them from the world. I guess the Europeans are laughing at us now (again).

    Keep up the good writing!


  • The Spnz Recruitment Team Leader

    I think you are ridiculous to take the position you are taking! What about young children that access Facebook either directly or casually watch with parents? Please be socially responsible. It is not just about you. Think of others, otherwise live on an isolated island and do as you please as this won’t affect anyone else.
    I like what you publish in gneral but you have just discouraged me from reading you stuff in future. Everything has consequences, even potentially losing a potential client. In your private space do as you please, but in the public arena be socially responsible!

    • TheReign

      Shut up, its the parent’s responsibility. Better station someone at every bridge in the country – to make sure no one jumps off. Its our responsibility! Plllllllll

      • bro

        you shut up

  • Bob

    It seems to me that it has been somewhat lost in this discussion that if you are letting your child access Facebook, you aren’t doing your job as a parent in the first place.

    Typical, bullshit, Classic nitwit American mentality… I can’t/won’t parent my own children, so I need the world to police itself for me… for them. After all…. it’s about the childreeeeeeen.

    Here’s a little 411 for you… Facebook doesn’t allow children to have accounts as explicitly stated in their TOS.


    • TheReign

      Beautiful response

  • TheReign

    Legalize it!

  • bro

    Well people have different points of view, america, europe, asia.. so i think facebook is doing the right thing to close that kind of thing. if you’re not agree, just go to pornbook ha2.

  • http://www.daniel-bauer.com/workshop/workshops_es.html Daniel

    Really obscene is that everything concerning sexuality is seen as obscene.

  • J.taylor

    There are children on facebook…like it or not they are there…I say no to any type of nudity. It is not necessary on facebook.

  • Ed

    I think that Facebook’s views are valid,why should everything or every site,be involved in nudity,there’s sex sites for that,let these people go on them,Or better yet,let these people make their on sites!I am tired of going on sites and you click on a link you think is safe,only to be brought to a damn sex site.Oh!everybody will say freedom of speech,I say to Facebook,hold to your believes,HELL,the damn government DON’T follow rules,in fact they break them everyday!

  • Justin

    I think Facebook is just a somewhat lax representation of the prude, social conservative society that we live in. Imposed Christian values run amok that pervade everything from politics to company policies. In my opinion, the entire country needs to lighten up on things like nudity and personal freedoms. One reason I support candidates that will lessen the focus on keeping certain things too socially conservative and granting more personal freedoms.

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